As the game of golf evolves, the “next step” has a tendency to force an adjustment in thinking. Over my 40+ years of playing, I have watched the golfing world adopt precision, control, grip it and rip it, and now brute strength as the main stream philosophy. Most of the this change is driven by innovation of equipment and technique. But, I wonder if the present day philosophy is more about selling golf versus improving the actual game. This is a tough nut to crack, but I have my views for sure.
When I first started to learn about golf, precision and control were the top of the conversation for golf. Yes, distance had its role, but if a player could not control their ball, they were encouraged to forgo that distance to ensure their ball stays in play. Talking to most players, the golfer who had both distance and control was to be emulated as long as control ruled the roost.
As my game progressed, this control philosophy has remained at the center of my game development. It is only recently that I felt I needed to add additional distance, but that seems a long stretch as I try to make minor changes to my game to make my goal achievable.
I remember talking to a professional about 10 years ago and he indicated that the new focus of teaching a golf swing was rooted in the “grip it and rip it” philosophy. They said that teaching control would come later and that without distance, most players could not reach their maximum potential. I am certainly not convinced, about this approach, however my experience of playing at the elite levels, distance definitely has its place.
The golf philosophy of today is near the apex of a precipice. Players like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau have opened the door towards brute strength being the next philosophical mainstream. They demonstrate that the next level to “grip it and rip it” is to overpower golf courses by smashing every club to its limits. It seems, at least for the time being, that it has a toe hold in the thinking of many pundits. The failure of Rory McIlroy to accomplish this philosophical change may doom its popularity. I guess the real test of the brute force approach will come with how the advertising for new equipment is presented. Personally, this approach is not for the average player and I think it will fall the wayside in a year or two.
Mainstream philosophy in golf does change. It has over the many years I have played, but I am not really sure where the golf industry goes from here. Unless there is some major innovation to equipment, I can see how golf is thought about reverting back to a combination of control and “grip it and rip it”. It seems the most logical approach for the bulk of amateur players. When someone reaches the elite level (you decide what that is) then I am sure they will fiddle with a great number of aspects to their game. For me, precision and control will always be at the forefront of my game. How about you?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!